In an indication of the Export-Import Bank’s dwindling popularity, previously undecided lawmakers are now responding to the mere threat of messaging from the bank’s opponents.
Club for Growth, a free-market advocacy organization, announced Thursday that it would target four additional Republican representatives as part of an ongoing ad campaign aimed at convincing voters in key congressional districts to oppose reauthorizing Ex-Im’s charter when it expires on June 30.
The announcement represented something of a warning shot to Reps. Rob Bishop, Bill Shuster, David McKinley, and Chris Stewart, coming as it did one day before the ads were set to start airing. (RELATED: Hensarling: ‘Momentum is in Our Favor’ for Ending Ex-Im)
At least three of those four, it appears, anticipated that their constituents would be responsive to charges that Ex-Im is little more than a corporate welfare slush fund catering primarily to the interests of large corporations like Boeing and GE. Without even waiting for the first ads to run, Bishop, Stewart, and McKinley all issued statements declaring their opposition to the bank.
“If we are going to tackle our nation’s problems of crushing debt and over regulation, we must have the courage to make real reforms,” Stewart said in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon. “It’s time to make one such reform by ending the Export-Import Bank.”
Bishop was similarly unequivocal, declaring in a press release that, “The sun has set on the utility of the bank, and the rationale being presented to support it is based on antiquated arguments. If a bill emerges from the Financial Services Committee that reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank, I plan to oppose it.”
Asserting that, “The Government is not better than the free market in guiding the economy towards prosperity,” Bishop said he is “concerned about the bank’s interference in what should primarily be private business decisions and transactions.”
McKinley, on the other hand, sought to hedge his bets, saying only that Ex-Im “should not get a clean reauthorization without substantial reforms.” (RELATED: Small Business Becomes Pawn in Ex-Im’s Fate)
McKinley indicated that his primary concern relates to the bank’s tendency to support large corporations instead of small businesses, saying, “Unless and until I am convinced the Export-Import Bank will be reformed with a focus on helping small businesses, I oppose any reauthorization.”
Club for Growth communications director Doug Sachtleben told The Daily Caller News Foundation that despite his somewhat tentative opposition, the group remains optimistic that McKinley will harden his stance against Ex-Im.
“Ex-Im is beyond repair,” Sachtleben claimed, noting that in addition to “the 31 open fraud investigations connected to the bank, there’s the fundamental problem of having partisan bureaucrats doling out corporate welfare to a handful of big corporations. We hope Congressman McKinley will come to see that it’s time to abolish Ex-Im.” (RELATED: ‘Complete Lack of Control’ Threatens Huge US Loan)
Alone among the four, Shuster declined to issue a statement of opposition. His office did not respond to requests for comment from TheDCNF, but Shuster has been supportive of Ex-Im in the past, and is a co-sponsor of legislation extending the bank’s charter through FY 2019.
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